Nosy Gamer: CCP’s War On Bots – Hardware Bans

“Two Step stated that he’s pretty sure he’s heard of CCP recording a digital fingerprint of each computer, from botting forums.”

CSM Spring 2012 Summit Minutes, p. 148

I was looking for some tears from botters over the changes to mining ships when I found something much more interesting over on the Eve Pilot/Eve Miner forums:

6 August 2012

LoPhatMelk:  “I’m trying to setup a new trial account after ban, so far all I get is
waiting for account to be verified. I think there is some type of mini
ban happening as soon as I log in. I have tried changing my system HW ID
(not MAC), no luck there. I’m attempting to reload eve after wiping the
install dirs. The only thing I found that slightly worked was when I
created a new account and started up a fresh VMware guest of Win7. which
had a fresh install of EO worked… Until I loaded that account up onto
my reg system then it got the flag also. Any help you guys can give on
how to get a trial account up and running with active ban would be
appreciated.”

Slav2 (Eve Pilot developer):  “Never heard that CCP start to ban accounts by hardware besides if you
spam about ISKS sales in game or have connection to RMT accounts … 



“p.s. One of my trial accounts was banned as soon as I created first
character because I used shared (first found in google) VPN. Not every
VPN is good, if you share VPN with other botters or ISK spammers this
will make you banned very soon … Frequent change of external IP will lead to
ban also.”

LoPhatMelk:  “Thank you very much for the info Slav2. Yes after more testing it seems
they are infact mini-banning by eve fingerprint. I have no idea if this
will ever get lifted after ban is off or not. Hopefully RG does not get
me perma banned, I wanted to try to use a trial account to regain some
money while I wait for the 2 weeks to go by.”

I don’t know how much of a secret this is, but Two Step was correct about the digital fingerprinting.  Slav2 documented the information that is uploaded by the Eve client when players log in and I have a copy of the list sitting on my laptop.  Looking at the list I see information about Eve client settings as well as hardware and operating system settings.  The information is consistent with what is in the EULA:

Section 9DCCP may from time to time update or otherwise modify the Software electronically. You hereby grant CCP permission to: (i) extract hardware system profile data from your computer; (ii) extract information from your computer’s file directories pertaining to the Game and your ability to access the System; (iii) download to your computer content and Game files and any data related to the operation of the Game. The foregoing applies to any computer from which you log into the System using your Account. [emphasis mine]

What is useful in debugging problems and allowing CCP to know what platforms to support also has the capability to identify people logging into Eve.  In this case, CCP Sreegs has had a smart programmer put into place a system that will automatically prevent someone with an active ban from creating another account. 

Of course, the botters have come up with a workaround, but I feel uncomfortable posting it since the detection system is used to keep more than botters and the illicit RMT crowd from entering Eve.  While the people I customarily write about know this information, I expect someone who was banned for griefing in Eve may not know the solution.  And if someone acts badly enough in Eve to get banned, I definitely don’t want to help that person sneak back into the game.

I don’t know how long ago CCP Sreegs put this system into place, but I like the fact someone can’t just create a new account while doing their time for a botting ban.  The more botters are inconvenienced the more likely they hopefully are to stop and change their ways.

– Nosy Gamer

Send us Intel/Corrections

54 Comments

  1. Hengroen

    Anyone watched that episode of South Park with Apple and the T&C's…?

    August 9, 2012 at 3:04 pm Reply
    1. no, you're the only one.

      August 9, 2012 at 5:33 pm Reply
  2. hirrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

    im not a botter or anything, but this strikes me as being very intrusive to their customer. Im all about stopping the botters, but i have never liked the idea of my computer being spied on by a game developer. Its one thing when you are participating in a beta another entirely when your paying for a service. I was however aware of this as i actually read the EUla/TOS. IDK thoughts?

    August 9, 2012 at 3:05 pm Reply
    1. civan

      Actually what's more intrusive is that CCP can execute any code of their choosing on your client. If you are of a paranoid mind-frame you can say that EVE has the capabilities of your run-of-the-mill malware loader.

      August 9, 2012 at 3:12 pm Reply
    2. Urziel99

      I like the idea of tracking hardware, it's much harder to change than software. Death to Bots.

      August 9, 2012 at 3:17 pm Reply
      1. Delvian

        Agreed, as far as I'm concerned if CCP need to take internet fingerprints to put pain onto botters then ink me up. 😉

        August 9, 2012 at 4:53 pm Reply
    3. Carlos

      all they do is monitor your eve client for errors or bugs and record ids of your computer for security reasons. Together it can be used to catch bots. But they dont scan your hard disk. They just gather standars stuff like ip's or client info. With that and some inteligence incorporatd into the client, you can do wonders but this is a long shot to call your computer been spied on.

      August 9, 2012 at 3:25 pm Reply
      1. Bagehi

        Isn't all of this info in the dx API for games using directx anyway?

        August 9, 2012 at 3:49 pm Reply
        1. Carlos

          why use directx? directx is heavy compared to pearl.

          August 9, 2012 at 6:15 pm Reply
    4. All Faggots

      Agreed. It is not CCP's fault. It is the fault of the botters and gets us more unnecessary client code, which needs to be maintained and tested for compatibility, all which has to be paid through out subscriptions or PLEX. It is sad.

      August 9, 2012 at 3:42 pm Reply
    5. c-ivan

      What's more intrusive is the fact that CCP has the capability to remote execute code of their choosing on your client. If you are of a paranoid mindset then you can say that EVE has capabilites of your run-of-the-mill malware loader.

      August 9, 2012 at 3:49 pm Reply
    6. c_ivan

      What's more intrusive is the fact that CCP has the capability to remote execute code of their choosing on your client. If you are of a paranoid mindset then you can say that EVE has capabilities of your run-of-the-mill malware loader.

      August 9, 2012 at 3:52 pm Reply
    7. MM506

      Maybe Im wrong and Im not reading right but I don't think this is spying specifically.

      I'm guessing that all they do is record information your computer always transmits, like IP address, MAC address and then collect hardware ID's, your system setting configurations etc and make a fingerprint out of it. The odds of someone having the same hardware config with the exact same system settings on their eve client plus your known IP addresses and your known MAC Addresses are slim. They take that and say "haha! This is the same dude we banned yesterday!" and deny entry.

      Maybe they get a few false positives, which they fix through customer service (an innocent guy will call CS and ask what's going on and they fix it, the botter KNOWS why he can't get it, though might still fake it).

      Maybe it's more insidious and/or clever than that. I don't know.

      August 9, 2012 at 3:59 pm Reply
    8. Beata

      Is this the first MMO you have ever played?

      If you don't like the EULA your welcome to try and find another one that doesn't do check your hardware from time to time, but I can tell you right now there isn't many out there that don't, try facebook games perhaps.

      August 9, 2012 at 4:28 pm Reply
    9. asdf

      Better than EA Games going through your system and making any of their games unplayable that you did not download through their Origin bullshit. This included games that you downloaded legitimately through steam or bought the disc for before the Origin bullshit came out.

      August 9, 2012 at 6:11 pm Reply
  3. Carlos

    well done CCP. ban all bots

    August 9, 2012 at 3:05 pm Reply
    1. badpostfollows
      August 9, 2012 at 11:06 pm Reply
  4. civan

    I'm disappointed by the lack of mention about Red Guard. Nosy gamer seems to be ignoring my work :'(.

    August 9, 2012 at 3:15 pm Reply
  5. All Faggots

    Just because some faggots fail to accept the rules of the game do we now get hardware spying and other shit with the client.

    August 9, 2012 at 3:25 pm Reply
    1. Mech

      Just because some faggots buying ISK. It's like with drugs. Where's demand, there's supply.

      August 9, 2012 at 4:39 pm Reply
      1. All Faggots

        I am pretty sure one can buy ISKs legally, and RMT and botting is illegal. Nothing hints at a need to break the rules.

        August 9, 2012 at 5:23 pm Reply
        1. Mech

          I thought illegall ISK buy, sorry for mistake.
          As long years mmorpg player, i found PLEX service absolutly unique a interesting idea because nobody lose.
          But, there'll be allways people looking for cheaper option. Problem is not RMT sellers only, but RMT buyers too. CCP would start ban both, that makes huge impact in those activities.

          August 9, 2012 at 6:50 pm Reply
          1. JustAGuy

            It's generally not as necessary to ban isk buyers. Just withdrawing the isk from their account is usually punishment enough. Nobody likes giving away money, and if they spent the isk they bought and find themselves with a negative wallet to boot, well that's pretty convincing that you shouldn't do it again.

            August 9, 2012 at 8:51 pm
          2. Fletch

            People who buy ilegal isk get punished. All the isk that they brought gets removed from their wallet. This can lead to people having negative wallets.

            August 9, 2012 at 10:22 pm
          3. woop

            CCP does ban people for buying isk..
            Its a part of the 3 strikes and out system.. (sigh, read the announcements dude ;))

            August 9, 2012 at 11:22 pm
  6. Your Mom

    Ban all bots. If you are doing nothing wrong, you have nothing to worry about. Who gives a shit if CCP or ANYONE, knows your hardware. Get over it.

    August 9, 2012 at 4:02 pm Reply
  7. Diablo

    OMG

    Like moon mining for Tech isn't a afk activity which produces way more profit. I agree with the STUPIDITY LCL 5.

    August 9, 2012 at 4:05 pm Reply
  8. ZeetFleet

    Confirming CCP has now successfully invented a banhammer.

    After you get banned like this, you want to take a hammer to your computer.

    August 9, 2012 at 4:05 pm Reply
  9. I'm in PL.

    I wish bots and RMTS got a perma banned first offense

    August 9, 2012 at 4:05 pm Reply
    1. Beata

      Half of PL would be banned

      August 9, 2012 at 4:23 pm Reply
      1. CCP is best

        So botters AND half of PL banned? Wouldn't that just be the bees knees?

        August 9, 2012 at 4:50 pm Reply
    2. M1k3y

      Well, as much as I want to agree, something like 90%+ of people who are caught botting the 1st time dont bot again.

      August 9, 2012 at 9:14 pm Reply
  10. Bilderberg

    Well done CCP, keep it up

    August 9, 2012 at 4:25 pm Reply
  11. buggrit

    Tl, dr: Fuck the botters, I want a game.

    I really wish they'd FIX the gameplay so its good enough that:
    a – people actually wish to play it
    b – has enough variety, content and interaction (not just drudge crap mind) that bots have trouble with it.
    Until then (yea right), ban their asses.

    August 9, 2012 at 4:27 pm Reply
  12. Good job evenews-only about one year behind the curve on this one. http://eryanbot.com/jtp/2012/01/22/staying-safe-w

    -emist

    August 9, 2012 at 4:40 pm Reply
    1. NoizyGamer

      RG is designed to work when using the Eve client and spoof the login monitoring. But this article highlights a CCP process that occurs when you attempt to create an account, which you do thru the web site, not the client. Unless you were using RG when you were banned, it probably won't work to hide you.

      u mad civan?

      August 9, 2012 at 8:53 pm Reply
      1. emist

        Are you as dumb as you sound or just misinformed?

        What your own article describes, is the process by which CCP uses a hardware fingerprint obtained through the client after they ban one of your accounts. The result of loging into a newly generated account after getting hardware banned is a message saying your account is being validated, and then you get kicked off(and the account is banned). This whole process I know firsthand as I am unable to do anything on eve without using redguard(and a vpn).

        All of this, of couse, is remedied by running redguard to log in. I really hope evenews can start posting some decent material about the technical aspects of the "war on bots" soon. Its getting boring seeing articles like this come in years behind the ball.

        FYI, I'm not civian, as clearly stated by my username.

        -emist

        August 10, 2012 at 2:21 am Reply
  13. DearLeaderWeMissYou

    But mittens never yells, why the caps : (

    August 9, 2012 at 4:48 pm Reply
    1. The Mittani

      It is for emphasis, not yelling.

      August 9, 2012 at 7:17 pm Reply
  14. Delvian

    Not very many given that they are only recently worth enough to war over, before tech, there was dyspro and that had the same level of attention when people fought over it.

    Pretty sure the real Mitt would remember that tbh.

    August 9, 2012 at 4:49 pm Reply
    1. The Mittani

      It is enough years for even you to get the point.

      August 9, 2012 at 5:20 pm Reply
      1. Delvian

        Hardly even worthy of a footnote in EVE's history tbh, certainly no more attention required than any other 'isk fountain' that's been in game over the last 9 years. The only difference with tech is the sheer size of the blue lists needed to hold them.

        I find the technetium situation kind of sad really.

        August 9, 2012 at 11:34 pm Reply
        1. The Mittani

          All I care about is that you get my point. Whatever else makes you sad is not of interest here.

          August 9, 2012 at 11:43 pm Reply
  15. Fletch

    Do you know how many people are blue to each other so they can have piece of that pie?
    Do you? DO YOU?

    August 9, 2012 at 10:25 pm Reply
  16. SgtSimons

    good job ccp for being proactive!

    August 9, 2012 at 10:30 pm Reply
  17. Snickerdoodles

    Everybody who doesnt use bots or RMT should be happy about this because permenantly getting rid of a bot just doesnt do it, but black-listing the piece of hardware does. Bots do exist and they will continue to exist, but CCP is able to control the amount of them to where they don't have enough impact to damage the economy or the integrity of the game. Like said in an article from before, CCP is acually fihgitng the illegal bots while games like runescape let them run wild. If you're mad about this you're either a bot or an idiot… Bots must die

    August 9, 2012 at 11:03 pm Reply
  18. Ban Screegs

    Banning people wont stop the bots. Changing the game to make making money more interesting and faster will end the bots.

    The majority of people who bot do so because this game is boring as shit to make money especially in nullsec. Even more so now that Incursions were nerfed. So in order to combat bots they nerfed how quickly people can make money by nerfing belt ratting and deadspace plex's and incursions… CCP is just driving more null sec player to start botting because its becoming longer and longer to make any decent headway to make money.

    August 9, 2012 at 11:52 pm Reply
    1. zzz

      don't give a shit about your excuses, if you suck dicks youse a faggot

      August 10, 2012 at 6:30 am Reply
  19. Ex -A-

    Introduce an AI module. Level the playing field and bankrupt the external suppliers.

    August 10, 2012 at 2:35 am Reply
  20. Imigo

    Awesome. The noose tightens a little bit more.

    August 10, 2012 at 3:04 am Reply
  21. droljica

    Just run eveclient from wmvare platform, doesnt matter if u are boter, rmter, casual or hardcore player, virtualitzation is a key :)

    August 10, 2012 at 10:14 am Reply
  22. Anonymous

    If you want privacy, then download a program by blue ridge called app guard, it blocks processes from reading / writing info to other applications unless you allow it. Including eve writing the hardware profiles on you. I'm not sure if ccp will do anything for people using this. But it is akin to firewalling yourself from ccp.

    August 11, 2012 at 12:23 pm Reply
  23. Doesnot Matter

    Anyone in the eve community ever take a look at the following paper on CCP potentially being behind some in-game scams? This isn't a new paper, folks.

    Do a google search on the Vanderbilt law school paper by Lim –

    "Who Monitors the Monitor? World Governance and the Failure of Contract Law Remedies
    in Virtual Worlds"
    It may not be proof of CCP being complicitous or behind the in-game bank investment scam referenced in the PDF, but it should at least cast a shadow of doubt on the company being above the corruption it decries in those who transgress the EULA TOS.
    George Orwell once wrote in Animal Farm: ' Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.'

    August 13, 2012 at 12:43 am Reply
  24. stinky_nuts

    Botter Tears..

    fuckin Waaah waaah..

    go back to WoW faggots

    August 13, 2012 at 4:35 am Reply

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